Hilton’s new “Canopy” brand focuses on community collaborations in Portland, Maine
Before I even met Ginny Petrovek, I had heard about her kindness and enthusiasm. I’d needed an extra room key at the Canopy by Hilton Portland Waterfront in Portland, Maine, so I stopped at the front desk for a duplicate.
“Oh, we just dropped some goodies off for your kids,” the front desk employee said when I gave him my room number. “Our GM has a whole wagon of stuffed animals in the back, do you want to see it,” he offered.
I always say yes to such inquiries.
When I caught up with Ginny later and told her how I got a sneak peek of the storage room that doubled as her amenity closet, rather than taking credit, she told me about the local shop where the toys come from and praised the baker behind the candy and treats that were delivered to the kids.
As I toured the hotel with her, she lit up when talking about all of the partnerships with area businesses.
Most of the people I write about are more “guest-facing” but it’s important to tell about my meeting Ginny because she reminded me of a very important element of travel: connecting the community with new faces.
In fact, Ginny started with Canopy when they opened the Portland hotel in June of 2021 because of the commitment the brand has in collaborating with local businesses.
“I would say it’s my favorite part of the job,” Ginny tells me. “And the thing about Maine is people are so genuine in wanting to support one another.” As a Mainer, I knew this to be true.
As Ginny shows me the retail wall in the lobby, she’s also sharing the stories behind each product.
Her excitement for someone else’s ideas and art reminds me of something my grandmother always used to say: “You can tell the mark of a good person by how they celebrate the success of another.”
I wasn’t given a hotel tour to fulfill a duty. The details of the hotel, like the retail wall, aren’t there to simply fill space. There’s a personalization and passion that is evident in every nook and cranny. Every anecdote passed on by Ginny.
She told me about a company called Rugged Seas, a Maine business who takes a lobster fisherman’s bibs and upcycles the old gear into bags and backpacks. A portion of the sales go back into the Maine fishing community.
The Canopy brand also has the standard of each hotel incorporating a pillar coffee program and Ginny tells me how the Salt Yard cafe on property partners with Rwanda Bean, a Portland-based roaster who donates 50 percent of profits back to its coffee farmers.
Rather than competing with neighboring hotels in the busy Old Port, Ginny invites them over to Luna, Canopy’s rooftop restaurant, to enrich the sense of community and camaraderie in the tourist hotspot.
Canopy employees also make a point to actively give back whenever possible, volunteering to paint tables at the local animal shelter, for example. In fact, 50 percent of pet fees are handed over to the Greater Portland Animal Refuge League in Westbrook.
The pet-friendly hotel offers the use and purchase of dog beds from L.L. Bean, another nod to a Maine company.
Building local partnerships is where Ginny has found her hum. And from the sounds of it, her hospitality has rubbed off on the rest of the team. She loves when an employee asks if they can send a bottle of wine to the restaurant where guests are celebrating an anniversary.
Because, as I learned, Ginny is all about surprises.
When working at another Portland hotel, Ginny found out a repeat guest was pregnant and planned an entire evening with prenatal massage and in-room menu with all the pregnancy comfort foods women often crave.
“The heartbeat of any great hotel that I’ve ever been to started with the people working there,” says Ginny, who goes on to tell me about a memorable stay she had at the Boston Harbor Hotel with her daughter. “I don’t talk about that experience because of the great room I slept in or the nice amenity. I remember how they treated my daughter and how genuinely interested the employees were in what we were doing.”
Guests of Canopy by Hilton Portland Waterfront will certainly think back to their stay with gratitude for the entire team of “heart workers” and their Chief Enthusiast, Ginny.